We recently wrote about Judge Lewis’s ruling in the case of Myers v. McCarty in which he granted a temporary injunction against the State of Florida and insurance companies, prohibiting them from limiting a victim’s no-fault, personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to $2,500 unless that injured party could prove that they had suffered an “Emergency Medical Condition” (EMC) in an accident.
The requirement of an EMC determination was part of Florida’s new PIP laws in 2013, and we have discussed previously (link) how this was a method of forcing drivers to pay for $10,000 in coverage but only being entitled to $2,500 unless they had an emergency medical condition.
On April 8, 2013, our firm received letters from State Farm notifying us that Florida citizens were going to receive the full $10,000 in PIP coverage, regardless of whether or not they had an EMC. This is great news for our clients, as it will entitle them to the full benefits that they paid for, and the $7,500 in additional PIP benefits will be used to pay the ambulance companies and emergency rooms that have provided them care. For many car accident cases, the average emergency room bill is over $5,000; if those victims were limited to only $2,500 in PIP coverage, they would have to find a way to pay the emergency room bill themselves, or risk being sent to collections and have their credit rating tumble. State Farm has also agreed to pay for injured Florida citizen’s massage therapy and acupuncture, two forms of treatment that many insurance companies lobbied against during last year’s legislative session.
We hope that other insurance companies will follow State Farm and stop enforcing the provisions of the new PIP law and give every injured Florida driver the $10,000 in coverage they have paid for. This week, attorney Marcus J. Michles, II is in Tallahassee testifying on behalf of accident victims regarding the changes to the PIP laws this past year. A member of the Florida Justice Association’s Board of Directors, he will be speaking about new legislation that will attempt to protect accident victims in response to the limitations put on Florida’s PIP system. Representatives from the largest insurance companies will also be in Tallahassee this week, and we will see if they are willing to join State Farm and stop using EMCs to limit their own insureds’ benefits.
If you are a medical provider with questions about the PIP coverage available to your patients, or an injured victim of an accident who has been denied their full PIP coverage, contact our lawyers today for a free consultation. In light of the recent rulings by Judge Lewis, and position taken by State Farm, it is important to understand what coverage is available to you. Certain deadlines still apply, so do not delay in learning about your rights.